HD Flip Into Action

A Review of the Flip Slide HD by Eron Howell

Flip into action, shoot your quick video, flip it up to utube or share with a friend on the easy to use Flip Slide HD, 16 GB, video Camera. Yes, the new Flip HD video camcorder is easy to use, has good HD quality for such a small camera, but has some serious drawbacks.

When shooting your video you have little to no controls, very few settings, so it’s basically a point and shoot camera. It can shoot up to 4 hours of HD quality video. The literature says 4 hours “continuously”, however it often goes into “freeze” mode and stops recording, then loses segments.

Flip support did tell me how to unfreeze the camera by holding the power button for 10 seconds, but they didn’t say I’d lose video and I did. After freezing up several other times, another call to tech support revealed a reset button that you insert a pin into, this worked much better.

With 4 hours of continuous shooting, you’d think the camera would not have to be recharged during that time but, I had to recharge the battery during the middle of shooting.

In slide position the screen is large enough to see your clips, 3”, however the slide touch screen is too sensitive. However, it is “fun” to flip it up and show your clips on the spot.

The back touch screen is a mystery. t can be  too sensitive or even dead at unpredictable times. Sometimes you have to touch it a couple of times to get what you want, at other times I found myself pounding on it, and pleading with it to work which of course gets recorded on audio.

After hours of experimenting, I found that a firm quick touch, then a long wait usually allowed the camera to proceed with the desired function. If there were several long videos stored in the camcorder, it preformed with real delays and often flipped from record back to ready without any prompting on my part. It can be very annoying to think you are recording, only to find it has shifted back to “ready” all on it’s own. Thus instead of using the 4-hour record time, I’d download my clips after several short segments.

You can delete from the back screen to get rid of your out shots, which is very helpful. It does take patience to learn to use this function, go slow, and follow the prompts. Then try again if it doesn’t work. The touch screen needs improvement.

The HD Flip camera does have a slide  zoom, but it is hardly worth calling a zoom and is very hard to use. The zoom part of the touch screen often was too sensitive and moves other functions or didn’t do anything. When you want it to function, it often didn’t. The quality is lost as well. In the video you can see the loss of quality when zoomed in closer on the distance hills. I added the “wild Colors” section for fun in the video. I’m a painter and loved the colors in the late afternoon light, but I have no idea why the Flip camera suddenly went psychedelic and never did it again. There obviously is no wild color setting ability, the camera adjusts automatically to changing light conditions.

The audio will also not impress you until you listen to it in your computer. To set the volume is not easy on the touch screen, so I just left it on high, never to change it again. I thought I had horrible audio only to find that depending on what software you are using, you can adjust it to be very clear and as loud as needed for normal viewing.

So this brings us to the Flip Software. Not impressive, but easy to use for someone like me who does not read directions. The software never worked correctly on my Mac. And finally just wouldn’t stay open. Tech support repeatedly told be to uninstall and reinstall, it never did “fix” the problem. I tried it on a PC and it was simple to use, but lacked any extra editing features. One of the features I liked is that you can stop frames and view them one by one, of course they aren’t really “frames” but captured seconds. Then with an easy click of a button you can make a snapshot photo with very nice quality.

For your video clips, you can add music, titles, transitions, and share with friends without knowing anything about video editing. It lacks any ability to change the durations of transitions and has only very simple editing adjustments. The software would work fine for PC users who want to post quick videos to utube, facebook, or share with friends and family, etc.

I made this little video of a rainy afternoon in NM in iMovie. I do not have the steadiest hand but it was far more stable than I would have expected from such a small camera. If I had a tripod, there would be far less jumpy shots, but the small Flip tripods are for table top use and not very stable. Although iMovie works better for editing, for someone who jumps in without reading directions, I had to actually print out the whole instruction guide and step by step follow directions. I’m sure you techies already know how to use iMovie, so I wouldn’t go into it here. It is amazing software that sure beats the old days of editing “A” “B” rolls on stand-alone editors. My love of editing has been renewed, I wonder what small digital video camera to try next?

So, all in all, if you want to carry around an inexpensive lightweight small video camera with the potential of HD video clips, try the Flip Video camcorder. Or better yet, wait awhile for them to debug the camera and improve the software.


BIO

For almost 40 years, Eron Howell has been a professional artist and designer. After graduation from the Kansas City Art Institute, she embarked on a 10-year career in national television in Hollywood. Her work included the titles for the Tonight Show, and the original Wheel of Fortune wheel and set. Before leaving L.A. Eron moved into animated television commercials.

Eventually her work brought her back to Texas, where her career took a major jump into co-owning, managing, and designing for Guadalupe Hand Print Fabrics. Her specialty was designing custom fabrics for large Texas ranches. Guadalupe fabrics were well known in the industry for original western oriented designs.

During this time, Eron also helped her partner manage a guest ranch, The Guadalupe River Ranch. After many years as a successful designer, the guest ranch business took over, but Eron kept her hand in by doing advertising and videos for the ranch. She also designed and did all the production on several books using Photoshop and In-Design.

Currently Eron does website design, book layout and design, and original hand printed T-shirt designs. Her love of painting is allowed to have a space a few times a year, when she mostly paints horses, her main passion in life. The Flip video camera was bought to shoot the footfalls of her gaited horses.